Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mustards Grill turns 25

Mustards Grill celebrated it's 25th anniversary this past Monday with the ultimate garden party. A favorite in the valley for it's comfort food and reasonable prices, these days the Mustards menu also features many wonderful dishes that use the bounty of the sprawling two acre kitchen garden.

At the party many of the classic menu items were served in nibble-sized portions--the onion rings with homemade ketchup, pulled pork sandwiches, barbecued ribs, oysters on the half shell and even mini lemon meringue pies. To wash it all down, local wine makers poured a variety of styles and vintages. Entertaining the crowd was a hip bluegrass band who countrified everything from Guns N' Roses to Happy Birthday. Two old time photo booths enticed party goers to make their own memento of the evening. There was lots to celebrate beyond the 25 years and most of it had to do with Cindy Pawlcyn.

Chef and restaurant owner Cindy Pawlcyn is a restaurateur whose successes are many. In addition to Mustards Grill she also runs Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen and Go Fish. She has been nominated for a James Beard Best Chef award twice and wrote the James Beard award-winning Mustards Grill Napa Valley Cookbook, Fog City Diner Cookbook and Big Small Plates.

In the era of the celebrity chef Pawlcyn is delightfully unpretentious and a tremendous supporter of the people who work with her. Perhaps the best case in point is her Executive Chef and Partner at Mustards, Erasto Jacinto who emigrated from Mexico in 1985. He began as a dishwasher at Mustards and truly worked his way to the top. Don't be surprised if you catch a glimpse of Jacinto dashing from the kitchen to the garden to pick fresh herbs. Congratulations Cindy, here's wishing you continued success and more delicious times ahead.